OPERATION ROBIN HOOD
OPERATION ROBIN HOOD is not for the weak and fearful, but rather for the BOLD and the COURAGEOUS… because it involves using your own car, your own fuel and your own time and resources to bless others. The rewards for it are HUGE though – because Precious Father God openly rewards those whose heart, body, mind and soul are fully turned towards Him and dedicated to serving Him…
There was a time in my life, not so very long ago, when I too was homeless and hungry, and wandering the streets of East London, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and one evening, as I stood outside a restaurant, hungry, I happened to turn around and glance inside. As I did so, a man sitting at a table caught my eye and beckoned me inside. I went in, and approached the man at the table, wondering what he wanted to see me for. As it turned out he invited me to sit down and in a gesture of uncommon generosity, told me to order anything I wanted on the menu and he would pay for it. And so I did. I can’t remember right now what it was that I ordered, but suffice it to say that sitting at that table with the man, drinking a beer, which he had also bought me, and enjoying a really good meal in a beautiful restaurant, just the same as any other normal person made me realise that just because I may have been down on my blessings right at that very moment, life was by no means finished with me. Not by a long shot. Once I’d enjoyed the man’s generous hospitality, we chatted for a while and I got up and left his company, thanking him profusely. I am here to tell you ladies and gentlemen reading this that I walked out of that restaurant on Cloud 9! And stayed there for 2 full weeks! In other words, what I am saying is this…
In the deepest part of my problems God sent someone to me with a meal and a cold drink, generous hospitality and a friendly encouraging smile.
That single gesture lifted me up and filled me with HOPE for 2 weeks. And in those 2 weeks I found a job and a new home. Over the years I have found that this principle of helping people where they need it most – refer Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs above – is one of the simplest things one person can do for another. The HOPE that this brings to most people goes beyond what mere words can say.
I could sit there and wax all pious and religious and tell you that we should all be good Christians and feed the poor, which is, by the way, a direct command of our LORD and Saviour, Jesus Christ, (sadly, so few Christians actually obey Jesus by doing what He told us to do), but let me rather leave scripture out of this for the
moment and share with you some of the noted sayings of a very wise man from the previous century – Mahatma Gandhi. It was actually this very wise man who said of Christians, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
How right he was. Of course, he didn’t realise that Jesus Christ is in fact God.
He knows that now, wherever he is.
But before he died in 1948, Gandhi was also noted for many other wise sayings, a few gems of which are:
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” Whilst there will be some amongst you who will jump on this and shout “Blasphemy!” because it purports to mock scripture (Exodus 21:23-25, but which Jesus Himself commented on in Matthew 5:38-42). However, Gandhi uses this to remind us that there is no point whatsoever in taking revenge, curiously another point addressed by God Himself (Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:17-19).
Another of Gandhi’s famous quotes is “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Jesus said it first when He told us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31), as well as Galatians 5:13; Matthew 23:11; Luke 6:38 and Romans 12:9-13. There are many others if you should decide to look for them…
I have to say that one of my favourite Gandhi statements is his “to give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowed in prayer” because it is so practical. James, the half-brother of Jesus told us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).
The point I am making here is that not only was almost everything he said predated by more than 1900 years, having in almost every occasion first been said by Jesus Christ, but that as wise as this man was, he recognized the importance of God in a man’s life so much that he is known to often have said that “some people are so hungry the only way that God can be made known to them is
through a chunk of bread and a mug of water”.
My point exactly.
Shortly there is going to be something launched called “Operation Robin Hood” and it involves nothing more than us mustering up the courage to go door-to-door (Oh heavens! We’ll have to actually talk to our neighbours and find out who lives next to us and in our areas!) asking people for their old clothing, furniture, tools and toys, stuff that they no longer need and would be glad to be rid of, taking what they give us, having it cleaned up and either repaired, or reconstituted in whatever manner is necessary – and then distributing it to the poor and broken people of the city – thus too in turn giving them HOPE!
Although I cannot tell you who to give the stuff to, it is my hope that you will contact me so that we can add you to our team and distribute the clean, washed and ironed, reconditioned clothing, tools and children’s toys all over Central in Port Elizabeth, via the Anchor of Hope Church in Richmond Hill. Knowing first-hand what a hot meal and a cold drink can provide to a hungry man isn’t the only experience I have in this area of life. I also know how encouraging it is when someone pops up and blesses you with food and clothing just as you thought you were about to starve to death… Or blesses you with the tools you need to develop a business for yourself… Or gives your children a few new toys (new to them) to keep them occupied as you try to find work to make ends meet…
Help us to make the Central part of Port Elizabeth the safe and welcoming place it used to be, i.e. force the drug lords out and bring happy, loving people in. People with HOPE for future, people with confidence in themselves, people who have experienced God’s love through clothing, food, and provision.
Do we have all the answers? No. We don’t have any of them but if we can give God something to work with, you’ll be astonished at the wonders that He can do…
Everyone has old clothing that no longer fits them, or that has gone out of style. We don’t mind, we are not fashion fanatics and we have an incredible team of seamstresses and tailors that will reconstitute the clothing you give us, if indeed it needs work done to it, before being taken to a laundry and washed, ironed and repackaged so that the person who gets it receives a next to brand new garment.
NO LONGER USED GARDEN TOOLS
If you’ve been in your home more than a few years, you will, over time, have collected the most astounding junk (or at least that’s what the lady of the house will say LOL!!!). I was walking from my flat in Overbaakens towards Willaim Moffett street the other day and I was astonished to see a most enterprising guy ride past me on his bicycle, towing an old golf cart behind him, on which was tied an old lawn mower, a few rakes, spades and forks, and off he went – Solomon’s Garden Services!
It is amazing what people will do with our old junk. There is coming a time when we will all wish we had been more diligent in following God’s instructions and helping our fellow neighbours.
Won’t you see what you have lying around and contact me please?
NO LONGER NEEDED CHILDREN'S TOYS & BOARDGAMES
Those of us old enough to remember having to make our own toys remember what it feels like to not have toys of your own, when all the kids around you have more than enough to go around. We also all know what little horrors young children can be when it comes to sharing…so….
We know that there are tons and tons of toys, books and boardgames lying in homes all over Port Elizabeth that could very well see second lives in the joy and entertainment that they could bring to young children all over again – all YOU have to do is give them to us. We will make sure that they are all together and in good condition (please – no jigsaw puzzles) before handing them out to kids in Central and making their days for them!
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